#Poetry #Canadian
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Excerpt ALCYONE In the silent depth of space, Immeasurably old, immeasurably far, Glittering with a silver flame Through eternity, Rolls a great and burning star, With a noble name, Alcyone! In the glorious chart of heaven It is marked the first of seven; 'Tis a Pleiad: And a hundred years of earth With their long-forgotten deeds have come and gone, Since that tiny point of light, Once a splendour fierce and bright, Had its birth In the star we gaze upon. It has travelled all that time— Thought has not a swifter flight— Through a region where no faintest gust Of life comes ever, but the power of night Dwells stupendous and sublime, Limitless and void and lonely, A region mute with age, and peopled only With the dead and ruined dust Of worlds that lived eternities ago. Man! when thou dost think of this, And what our earth and its existence is, The half-blind toils since life began, The little aims, the little span, With what passion and what pride, And what hunger fierce and wide, Thou dost break beyond it all, Seeking for the spirit unconfined In the clear abyss of mind A shelter and a peace majestical. For what is life to thee, Turning toward the primal light, With that stern and silent face, If thou canst not be Something radiant and august as night, Something wide as space? Therefore with a love and gratitude divine Thou shalt cherish in thine heart for sign A vision of the great and burning star, Immeasurably old, immeasurably far, Surging forth its silver flame Through eternity; And thine inner heart shall ring and cry With the music strange and high, The grandeur of its name Alcyone! IN MARCH The sun falls warm: the southern winds awake: The air seethes upward with a steamy shiver: Each dip of the road is now a crystal lake, And every rut a little dancing river. Through great soft clouds that sunder overhead The deep sky breaks as pearly blue as summer: Out of a cleft beside the river's bed Flaps the black crow, the first demure newcomer. The last seared drifts are eating fast away With glassy tinkle into glittering laces: Dogs lie asleep, and little children play With tops and marbles in the sunbare places; And I that stroll with many a thoughtful pause Almost forget that winter ever was. THE CITY OF THE END OF THINGS Beside the pounding cataracts Of midnight streams unknown to us 'Tis builded in the leafless tracts And valleys huge of Tartarus. Lurid and lofty and vast it seems; It hath no rounded name that rings, But I have heard it called in dreams The City of the End of Things. Its roofs and iron towers have grown None knoweth how high within the night, But in its murky streets far down A flaming terrible and bright Shakes all the stalking shadows there, Across the walls, across the floors, And shifts upon the upper air From out a thousand furnace doors; And all the while an awful sound Keeps roaring on continually, And crashes in the ceaseless round Of a gigantic harmony. Through its grim depths re-echoing And all its weary height of walls, With measured roar and iron ring, The inhuman music lifts and falls....
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